Friday, April 29, 2005

Good Friday Agreement hasn't reduced ethnic polarization

Daily Ireland:

Polarisation between Catholics and Protestants in the North has not significantly reduced since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement seven years ago, a seminar revealed yesterday.

Held in Belfast, the seminar highlighted results from a study of attitudes and values among the two communities across the island.

The study showed that the two communities were as polarised on questions of identity and constitutional politics as when the Agreement was signed. It also disclosed that increased secularisation has weakened the role of religion as a marker of identity in Northern Ireland.

The seminar, entitled ‘Religious Affiliation and Identity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern IreIand’, was organised by Queen’s researchers with ARK – the Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive.

The GFA was based on two foolish notions: first, that you could make British colonialism acceptable to the indigenous Irish population and secondly, that you could make the British colonists stop abusing the indigenous Irish. No self-respecting indigenous people would ever accept the rule of foreign occupiers. At the same time, from the viewpoint of British colonists, what would be the point of having a colony if you couldn't abuse the natives? The only way to end the problems of the north of Ireland is for the British to dismantle their colony and return their colonists to Britain where they belong.


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